The Orang Eire (expat Irish in Malaysia) narrowly defeated the Malaysian Warriors to level the 3 match Finnegans Cup Series at one-all in an exciting International Rules match at Alice Smith gound in Kuala Lumpur on July 25th. This sets up a thrilling finale, to be played November 7th. The Warriors hold the Cup and it will all be on the line for the Gaelic boys.
The 2009 International Rules Series will be deferred for 12 months, the Australian Football League (AFL) and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) announced today. AFL Chief Executive Andrew Demetriou said he had spoken to GAA Director General Paraic Duffy on a number of occasions over the last week and the two organisations had agreed to defer the series to October 2010, with two Tests to be played then in Ireland.
Australia had been due to tour Ireland after both country's respective seasons conclude this September, but Mr Demetriou said the world economic situation had caused a major re-think for the AFL, prompting it to seek to defer the series for 12 months. Mr Demetriou said the decision to postpone the series for 12 months had been a difficult decision to make as the AFL valued the GAA relationship very strongly, and the AFL had given its commitment it would tour Ireland for two Test matches in October 2010.
The Cayman Islands has a vibrant Gaelic Football scene, and within their playing ranks are a number of Aussies who play the Irish game. On an annual basis the Irish play the Australians on both ANZAC Day and St Patrick's Day. In the past some of these matches have been Aussie Rules but compromise rules (or International Rules) has been the agreed format. One of the Aussie stars of the game there is Gavin McMaster. We thank Gavin for the following report.
For many Aussies living in the Cayman Islands, ANZAC Day was spent preparing for the much anticipated re-match of the International Rules series against the Irish. The Irish had earlier denied the Australian requests to play full Aussie Rules for fear of injury and were full of confidence given their recent St. Patrick’s Day victory and superior skills with the round ball. While some of the Australian team play in the local Gaelic football league, for many the St. Patrick’s Day game was their first exposure to International Rules. This was clearly evident on that day with errant kicking for goal costing the Australians dearly.
The first ever season of International Rules games in France is over. This year has seen five IR games being played on French soil.
The main event of the past few months was the inaugural Paris International Rules Cup (PIRC), where the Paris Cockerels (Australian football) competed against the Paris Gaels (GAA). The Cockerels lost 3 of the 4 matches to the Gaels, which proved to be too strong. But each of the games saw the Aussie Rules players gaining more confidence with the round ball and putting more pressure on the Gaels. This would ultimately lead to the Cockerels' first victory in the PIRC, beating the Gaels 6-2-12 (54) to 2-5-10 (43), under the IR scoring system of 6 points for a goal (under), 3 for an over and 1 for a behind.
But Paris is not the only place where IR is being played in France. The Bordeaux Bombers started their 2009 season with an IR game against the newly formed GAA team of Charente-Maritime. The more experienced Bombers outplayed their opponents and eventually won the game.
In a sign that the controversial hybrid game is decreasing the gap between Aussie Rules and Gaelic Football, West Dublin Saints FC (who compete in the ARFLI) have announced they will play St. James Aldergrove GAA club in International Rules Football.
The match is scheduled to take place on Saturday March 14th at the GAA club's home ground. After the Saints had hoped to play the hybrid game against Trinity College GAA in February, the match was called off due to bad weather. They still hope to play this match. Despite this, West Dublin are pleased to play the Belfast based team in March. West Dublin have consistently performed well in Ireland's Aussie Rules competition.
The first ever International Rules game to take place in France was held in Paris on Monday 24th of November. It saw two Parisian teams, the Gaels of Gaelic football and the Cockerels of Australian football, fighting hard for the win on a cold winter night.
It has been an exciting year for both teams, the Cockerels won the inaugural French Cup in June, and the Gaels finished the European Cup as runners up.
The match saw the Gaels run out comfortable winners, with a final scoreline of 84-17, but set in motion plans for a regular Paris International Rules series to be held in the coming winter.
‘Twas a grand day for the Warriors, but a sad one for the Irish as the Malaysian Warriors extracted some retribution for the Australian AFL failure in the recent International Rules series by comfortably defeating the Malaysia GAA Orang Eire in the first International Rules contest held in Malaysia at the Alice Smith School on November 22nd.
Playing for the Finnegan’s Cup, the trophy donated by the well known Irish hostelry in Kuala Lumpur, a generous sponsor of both teams, the Warriors triumphed 109-61 in what was a highly entertaining game, played in great spirit before an enthusiastic crowd.
It was interesting to note that both sides had little difficulty adapting to the rules, and specifically the Warriors managed to handle the spheroid ball particularly well. This is probably due to the fact that unlike Australian-based AFL players many of the competitors on both sides have played numerous codes, the Australian game, the Gaelic game, soccer and the various rugby codes and hence can easily adapt. The simple fact that the Warriors were able score 6 unders and 19 overs is testimony to their accuracy in dispatching the round ball.
The inaugural Finnegan's Cup match, the first International Rules game to be played in Malaysia will take place between the Malaysian Warriors Australian Football Club and the Malaysian Orang Eire, the Malaysian Gaelic Athletic Association on November 22nd at 2.30pm at Alice Smith School in Kuala Lumpur.
This should be a real fun day, both teams know each other well with numerous of the Irish lads having played Australian Football with the Warriors and vice versa, some Warriors having played the Gaelic game with the Orang Eire.
Wihilst there is bound to be plenty of banter and craic, with national pride at stake, one can be assured no quarter will be asked or given.
The following article is by Irishman Ian McCourt. "Wicklow to be exact - where they play bad GAA but in beautiful surroundings". He came to Melbourne in the hope of sunshine and gold, of which he has only found one. He was delighted to see Ireland beat the Aussies in the International Rules series.
Despite the fears of the GAA, the first match of the 2008 International Rules series went off without a hitch in Perth, with Ireland winning by the slimmest of margins. With the series being judged on aggregate scores, Australia's fight back in the final quarter and Ireland's one point lead ensured that the next game would be a closely fought affair. For the second match, the series moved to Melbourne and the International Rules road show rolled into town leaving me with two stark choices. Either swing it with the real fans. Feel the passion; hear the noise; join forces with the fan on my left; swill beer with the fan on my right; and scream in unison with indignation as the umpire gets another decision wrong. Or, get tickets that would allow me to hob-nob it with the bigwigs in the members’ section of the ground. I thought about it for a second and jumped aboard the Good Ship Prawn Sandwich.
Final Scores: Ireland 4.8.9 (57) d Australia 3.8.11 (53)
Ireland defeated Australia comfortably, although finally on the scoreboard by 4 points, in the second Test at the MCG, taking home the Cormac McAnallen Cup, after winning the Perth Test by one point a week earlier.
The historic record of international matches played is now 15 wins Ireland, 14 Australia and two draws.
Kade Simpson won the Jim Stynes Medal as Australia's player of the tournament, while Graham Canty was the winner of the best Irish player in the series.
Two last quarter overs by the strong marking Drew Petrie brought Australia close to the Irish with only minutes to play.
The game was a success on the field, despite the media critics and despite the showers which have greeted both games.